Book Boyfriends – Real Life or Fiction?
I was writing a scene in Hostile Waters (a dark contemporary novella that is part of The Institute Anthology with authors Dani Rene, Anna Edwards, Murphy Wallace, Cassandra Faye, and Sian Claven) and got to a part where a young man crawls through a young woman’s window. It stopped me in my tracks. Yes, this young man is trying to help my female character after a gruesome event that just took place, but it was the realization of how many times I write about a man crawling through windows or staring through one, at hard times in my female characters’ lives, that had me stumped. Fiction or real life? Why not both? I believe we have book boyfriends because they represent something we crave. I also believe we can satisfy these cravings by manifestation.
Ryder in Rain (Stranger in the Woods series)
Dereck in Serenity (FOREVER series)
And a few others that I can’t mention without giving plot surprises away.
So, since I can be an epic overthinker, I pondered.
My discovery? That came when I thought of Serenity, a beautifully broken character who struggles with domestic violence.
Here is the end of the scene:
My room no longer provides the comfort needed. An aqua blanket and useless treasures adorn the space, trinkets gifted in attempts to make amends for my mother’s guilt. The beautiful ivory-wood furniture and other expensive belongings do nothing but serve as a reminder. No purchase my mother made could erase the earthquakes that consume my world when she drinks. I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. She stopped buying objects, and my forgiveness, long ago.
I go to my closet and retrieve my journal from its hiding place. Heading back to bed, I realize I forgot to return Dereck’s motorcycle jacket. I remove it and hold it to my face, letting my nose send a message to my brain—I’m not alone. Sobs explode from my body. I normally get by, but tonight rips through a heart I had managed to shut down. The same heart Dereck has managed to awaken.
I place the jacket in my bed, right where I wish Dereck were, and crawl in next to it—the closest I can get to him, and lay my journal on top of the leather. My tears won’t stop, so I close my eyes and beg to dream of my cloaked friend.
A knock on my sliding-glass door makes me sit up in a hurry, afraid, but then I see the outline of his body in the moonlight. Dereck must’ve climbed the tree next to my room. My favorite tree. I will thank her in the morning. I slowly get out of bed, unlock the door, and slide it open. Dereck’s intense stance and the opening and closing of his hands tell me he is not leaving.
He inhales sharply as I silently turn away, walking to my closed bedroom door to lock it. He shuts the sliding-glass door behind him. Weakly, I crawl into bed and lie down. He takes off his shoes as he approaches my bed but stops when he sees his jacket lying next to me. Without a word, he places my journal on my nightstand, moves the jacket aside, and slides into my bed while watching me as if I might shatter into a million pieces. I think I might have, had he not come back.
On my pillows, we face each other, staring. The only time his hand leaves mine is to catch a falling tear. I close my eyes and know that, for tonight, Dereck will catch them all.
Serenity is a character I invented to start my personal healing with this subject matter. When writing for Serenity, I am always in my childhood home. I see the same walls… the same stairs she falls down, the same carpet that burned her knees—my knees—when we, both Serenity and I, try to protect our mother that is under attack by my violent father…
In different books of mine, the character’s trials sometime lead to this same pivotal point. A young woman wanting to stop being alone. How many of you can relate to this? Not that we all want a man to “save us”, but how many of us don’t want to face all these hard challenges without a partner to hold your hand and stand by your side, or wipe tears that can’t be avoided?
I will always remember what it felt like to lie in bed, staring out that sliding glass door, wishing for a miracle to appear.
It didn’t come.
Dereck didn’t exist when I was Serenity’s vulnerable age. I had to see myself through the horrendous times… I had to learn to count on myself. Don’t be fooled, though. I still found time to dream and wish for the man I always sensed was out there, somewhere.
Now, I have my real-life hero who supports me in ways I never knew a husband could. I may have been to hell and back, and paid traumatic dues for such love and affection, but wasn’t it worth it? I still have scars. A part of me still writes these stories where I’m creating an environment to not be alone as I stare out the glass; finding a loving reflection of a friend. Life is a journey…
So, who says Book Boyfriends can’t be real?
My Book Boyfriend just had to wait until I was ready. I had to search myself, learn and grow, before we could have a relationship able to stand the test of time. I had to marry someone else, first, to learn what I did and didn’t want. I had to fail to appreciate success.
So, ladies (and gentlemen who are in search of their Book Boyfriend), if you haven’t found your dream guy yet, don’t give up! He will find you. Or, you will find him. Either way, it will happen when you’re ready—in this lifetime or the next.
Dereck is a wonderful fictional character that helped the lost girl in me, Serenity, find some true peace with parts of my past.
I hope you readers hold on to the notion that these flawed characters can be real, because I believe they are.